Monday, February 18, 2013

Imagine No Malaria - Lenten Devotion Day 6: February 18

Monday, February 18, 2013: A Portion… 
Deuteronomy 26:7: “We cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.” 

The story of God leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, to freedom and to a life of abundance, is one of the most important stories of God’s work for liberation and just social relationships found in the Bible. During Lent, we are drawn toward the images of the wilderness, as we remember Jesus’ time of fasting and temptation, and as we explore the barren or overgrown places in our own spiritual journeys. But as I read Deuteronomy 26:1-11, I notice that we begin not with slavery, not with liberation, not even with the forty years of being lost so as to un-learn the way of life the Israelites had known before. This reading begins with a kind of end-point, the people’s arrival in the promised land. 
The instructions that follow are not logistical, but liturgical: when you arrive and settle in, when your life begins to go well, and you are able to harvest the fruits of the land and your own labor, what matters is that you remember God. Put aside a portion of the abundance you are so eager to experience, rather than claiming it all for your own enjoyment or storing it away for a rainy day. Take your offering to the priest and remember, not just for yourself but for all to hear: recall the story of how you got here. 
Remember where your people came from, the journey you have been on, the struggles you have gone through, and God’s faithfulness and care throughout the generations. 
The story can have meaning for any of us, whether we are currently experiencing God’s bounty or still crying out to God from a place of pain and suffering. God is faithful, and we are called to respond with our own faithfulness and generosity as we move toward the abundant life God desires for all people and all creation. 

Prayer: God of our ancestors, when your children are suffering, hear our cry. Help us to remember your faithfulness in ages past, and teach us to offer ourselves and our gifts as generously as you do. Let our giving bear witness to your love and make it possible for others to experience the abundant life Jesus offers. May our journey this Lent draw us closer to Christ and so to you. Amen. 

Rev. Kerry Greenhill, Field Coordinator, Rocky Mountain Conference 

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